There’s so much to see and do in Paris that many people feel overwhelmed trying to experience it all. But my friend Cynthia Morris, an artist, author and creativity coach, has found the perfect way to capture and savor everything she loves about the city without feeling like she’s on a touristic marathon.
When I first met Cynthia on one of her annual trips to Paris about ten years ago I noticed she carried an accordion-style journal with her everywhere, and often would be sitting in a café or Parisian garden sketching and recording everything she saw, ate and drank during her trip. I loved seeing Paris through her eyes.
Her notebook had become a companion she takes with her everywhere. “For over ten years I’ve been using a visual journaling process to help enjoy and remember those special (and sometimes weird) moments on my trips. I love to travel and also find myself getting tired and overwhelmed by so much stimulus.” says Cynthia. “My notebook helps me to soak up all the sensual offerings of places like Paris and be ready for more.”
Unlike keeping a written journal, this visual journaling process allows her to quickly and creatively put her experiences onto the page. Whenever she finds a quiet moment – on a train, sitting in a park or a cafe, back at her rented apartment – she can tuck her memories into her journal in just a few minutes. “No more trying to write narratives of my experience that just get long-winded and boring. No more carrying bits of ephemera home with me and never doing anything with them.”
Like me, everyone was enthralled with Cynthia’s journals, so full of color and stories and life. She had already been doing writing workshops in Paris, but soon realized that everyone wanted their own fabulous visual journal, so she began teaching this method in a workshop called Capture the Wow. “I’ve seen people transform through this process,” says Cynthia. “They enjoy their trip more, they remember more and they learn a lot about themselves through the process.”
These are the three major things she’s seen others experience by keeping a visual journal whole traveling:
- Keeping a visual record offers a low-stakes way to play with creative tools and have fun in a new place.
- Using a journal as a travel companion helps us slow down and engage all the senses. This way we appreciate more of our experiences.
- When you return home, you have a vivid and colorful keepsake to savor and show others – much more interesting and personal than a series of photos you rarely look at.
Cynthia’s Capture the Wow workshops are the kind of thing that appeal to people who want to travel in a different way than just ticking all the sights off a list. It’s especially fun for those who have an inner artist who’s gathering dust in the basement who wants out! If this creative way of feasting in Paris appeals to you, consider joining Cynthia for a creative adventure this September 17th-22nd to wow it up for a week in the City of Light.
Full disclosure: I get a commission if you tell Cynthia I sent you. But even if I didn’t, I would tell you to sign up anyway! There are many writing and artist groups that come to Paris, but Cynthia is the real deal. She’s not only an inspiring, enthusiastic, talented and generous woman who sincerely cares about giving her clients the best experience possible, she also knows Paris like a local, and has been a certified coach, author and artist herself for 16 years.